On April 27, Annakiya, an Eastern Bongo, gave birth to a female calf at Franklin Park Zoo.
The morning after her birth, the 42-pound-calf had her well-baby examination, which included a general physical examination and blood work.
Dr. Alex Becket, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian in the department of Animal Health and Conservation Medicine, remarked after the exam, “The calf appears healthy. She is bright, alert and responsive, and is also very strong and active. As with any new birth, we are monitoring the mother and baby closely. Annakiya is an experienced mother and is doing everything a mother bongo should.”
The calf is expected to be on exhibit for short periods of time for Mother’s Day weekend, weather permitting.
The Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is herbivorous and mostly nocturnal. It is among the largest of the African forest antelope species.
Bongos are characterized by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns (both sexes have horns).
Bongos are classified into two subspecies. The Western or Lowland Bongo (T. e. eurycerus) faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN classified it as “Near Threatened” on the conservation status scale.
The Eastern or Mountain Bongo (T. e. isaaci) is found in Kenya. It has a more vibrant coat than the Western Bongo.
The IUCN Antelope Specialist Group has classified the Eastern Bongo as “Critically Endangered”. There are currently more specimens in captivity than in the wild.
Franklin Park Zoo has played a key role in growing the North American captive population through successful breeding. Since 1984, 17 Bongo calves have been born at Franklin Park Zoo.
Zoo New England participates in the Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This latest birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Patrick (age 6) and Annakiya (age 14). This is Annakiya’s third calf, but it is her first with Patrick.
Bongos are the largest, and often considered the most beautiful, forest-dwelling antelope found in the rainforests of equatorial Africa. Shy and elusive, Bongos are known for being almost silent as they move through dense forests.